NewsVaccine in Arizona


ADHS said Spanish vaccine registration site would be up Monday. Where is it?

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Posted at 5:20 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 09:09:01-05

Those who only speak Spanish in the Valley will have to wait another day for a vital vaccine resource to be accessible to them. On Friday, Dr. Cara Christ said the state health department planned to launch a Spanish vaccine website Monday, but as of 5 p.m., that has not happened.

Tomás León with the Equality Health Foundation has been trying to address issues impacting minority communities during the pandemic. He's been working with the state to get those communities more access to testing and now vaccines.

RELATED: Maricopa County vaccine dashboard shows minorities, lower-income zip codes lag in COVID-19 vaccinations

"We've got to remove these barriers," he said. "We have to have a shared goal of ensuring fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine, especially to those who've been hardest hit."

Maricopa County data shows that people in wealthier zip codes are getting vaccinated at higher rates.

León said minority communities also don't have as much access to information, and that's why a bilingual website is critical.

"Making sure that it's easy to find a testing site, it's easy to register for one and it's easy to get assistance and register via call center line if needed."

The state health department is trying to level out the playing field. On Friday, Dr. Christ said in March, they'll open "micro pods" in zip codes with low vaccine rates like Maryvale and south Phoenix.

"It's going to be critical for public health and critical to reach that goal of community-wide immunity together," said León.

Sandra Valenzuela and her family are all Spanish speakers from Mexico. She said when vaccine appointments first went up on the ADHS website, her 81-year-old mother-in-law Teresita tried to make an appointment. She's not fluent in English and had a difficult time. She finally gave up and had to ask for help.

"She said she got so frustrated," said Valenzuela.

Valenzuela said she's been hearing the same frustration from other Spanish-speakers who've been waiting to have this information for months.

"It's horrible, it's a horrible situation for us, that we speak Spanish... our first language is in Spanish. But what can we do?"

ADHS responded to ABC15's inquiry about the delay in making the Spanish-language website live late Monday. A spokesperson said they plan to make it launch Monday night.